Coming home after spending the summer overseas can be like a roller coaster of emotions. Because teams always spend so much time together, we become like a family and it can be a shock to have 20 kids one day, then it’s time for them to go home and all the sudden there’s no one around. It’s so quiet! We did have a great team and I miss each one of them. I enjoyed cooking for them and getting to know them better as they helped out in the kitchen.
God did a great work through my team, the Kilimanjaro Backpack team to Tanzania. We spent the summer living in tents. The first two weeks we set up camp at the new Teen Missions property in the foothills overlooking Mt. Kilimanjaro. The team worked very hard beginning with the early morning water runs, where each team member carried a five-gallon bucket down to the river that was about a half-mile down the hill, to get water for the kitchen. Then the work day began which included more water runs for mixing mortar and laying bricks on the Bible School building. In the pictures you can see how much they were able to accomplish in such a short time. The weather was perfect for working. It was dry season so we had warm days and cool nights. By late afternoon the clouds would dissipate around the mountain and we would have a clear view the rest of the night.
For the rest of our time in Africa, the team hiked out from the property and eventually straight up the mountain and camped at various churches along the way. The first hike was a BIG one. The first five hours weren’t too bad, it was the last four miles straight uphill that took more than four hours and took everything they had to finish the climb. Each morning the team went door- to-door in the community and did presentations in the open market. In the afternoons we were able to get into several secondary schools to share a Gospel presentation. Each night we set up an old film projector and screen to show the Jesus Film. Hundreds of people came to see the film. Our team saw over 180 people come forward to pray to receive Christ throughout our time on the mountain.
Sometimes in short-term missions, it’s hard leaving people who have just accepted Christ behind when it is time to go home. You always wonder if they are living for Lord or if they are going to church. Sometimes we never get the chance to go back to visit them and find out. We truly are just planting seeds. This summer the pastors we met were really doing a great job. They were totally involved in all the evangelism we did and told us they were going to follow up with all the new believers.
We saw our team grow in Christ and change their focus from, “When’s the next hike?” and “Is it going to be as far as the last hike?” to “Can we get into that school to do a presentation?” and “When’s the next time we can share Christ?” They changed from having to be asked to share their testimony to volunteering themselves. It was exciting to watch them grow spiritually over the summer. I love when they are eager to share what God is teaching them through their personal devotions. It really was a privilege to lead this group of teens and I am so excited that four of them have already signed up to go on teams again next summer!
At the end of the summer we were able get in a few more African experiences. We roasted a goat. We went swimming in a beautiful oasis. We did souvenir shopping in Moshi and we had an amazing all-day safari in the Serengeti Plains where we saw hundreds of animals. The lions were my favorite.
Now that summer has gone, our focus is getting ready for next summer! Our big annual mailing of the brochure is coming up and there are many things for me to design and print to get ready for that. With almost 200 registrations already for next summer, I am printing support letters and prayer cards and other literature. Staff newsletters, team fact sheets, promotional materials and advertising also keep me busy.
I am so thankful that the Lord continues to use me here at Teen Missions. Thank you for faithfully serving through your prayers and financial support. Donations towards my support tend to decline over the summer months, and this summer was no different, so please pray that there will be an increase in my monthly support so I can continue to serve. If you feel led to support me financially, you can begin by filling out the coupon below.
One of the best things about this time of year at Teen Missions is hearing all the stories of what God has done over the summer through all the teams that went out around the world. Here are some of the highlights from other teams.
Malawi Backpack – We stopped halfway through the project because we ran out of cement. During that time, we were unable to find cement to buy because political tensions prevented the transport of goods to our side of the country. Thankfully, time was not wasted. Because of the delay, we were able to see four chiefs come to know the Lord. We saw a total of 89 people come to salvation and we know that it was God’s timing that we were able to get the cement later and finish the Unit.
Zambia Orphan Angels – God blessed in a tremendous way with 315 salvation decisions—PTL! At each Sunday school location, we taught Bible lessons, phonics, songs, utilized puppets and played games with the precious little ones whom Jesus loves. We serve an awesome God! We were privileged to hand out clothes at a Rescue Unit. We were blessed by the orphan’s smiles and realized we have so much and they have so little!
Indiana Drama – Before even unpacking, we were off to our first county fair. We took our first tentative steps to approach the people and begin our surveys (a tool for beginning a conversation). Over the summer we shared songs, puppets, dramas and shared one-on-one with thousands of people. We conducted 1580 surveys and 268 people received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Praise the Lord! We learned that God can use imperfect servants who are available and willing to obey the command to “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Peru Church – The people of El Shaddai Church prayed every Tuesday for the past year for Teen Missions to return to continue building their church. God answered their prayers. Our team had been destined for Chile, but God changed everything during the last five days of Boot Camp and we went to Peru. We had a great summer interacting with the Peruvians and building their beloved church. We doubled the size from last year! We had the opportunity to give presentations at a church, a school and an orphanage. It was such a blessing!
To God be the glory,